Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

21 Aug 2008 Sustainable Packaging Links

chain links Here's a comprehensive look at sustainable packaging from a marketing perspective, by Jackie DeLise at Sustainable is Good. Her lexicon of sustainable terms is concise and very useful. From the Packaging Network, a sustainable rundown on PACK EXPO, confirming Joe Angel's (VP and Publisher of Packaging World) interview comments that 2008 will be the greenest PACK EXPO ever. The Green Routine explains that most plastic bags are made from natural gas, not oil. The author is not a fan of plastic bags, but observes that natural gas, much of which we produce domestically, is better than oil, which is mainly imported.
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19 Aug 2008 5 Reasons Why Sustainable Packaging Is Here to Stay

WASHINGTON - JULY 18: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) (L) and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) testify during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill July 18, 2006 in Washington, DC. McCain and Obama are testifying about the

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The business community is wary of consumer fads, and well it should be. We consumers, after all, are notoriously fickle. I've got ties I wore proudly five years ago that look ridiculous today, and I'll bet you have more than a few fashion skeletons in your closet as well. Now, some businesses view sustainability and sustainable packaging as the latest industrial version of the leisure suit, but I believe these issues are not trends at all, but represent a very long term change in the market's values and priorities. Here's why.
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12 Aug 2008 Sustainable Packaging and Branding On a Budget

"Water activated box sealing tapes" In the ever crowded markets we all work to serve we are often challenged with trying to stand out from our competition, while simultaneously working to create a greener, more Eco friendly image by delivering a more sustainable package to our customers.  Oh yes, we would also like to reduce or at least maintain our costs while doing it. Is this an impossible, contradictory combination of goals? I really don't believe so but to accomplish all three objectives, we have to make some well informed decisions and when we do, we are often surprised to find out the way is much easier than we thought. One simple way of answering all three of the above challenges is to utilize custom printed, water activated, gummed tape to seal the boxes we ship out to our customers and prospects.
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07 Aug 2008 Ecoblivious Packaging – Polystyrene Loose Fill

"polystyrene peanuts" Some types of secondary packaging material are far worse for the environment than others. One of the worst, in our opinion, is the old standby for void fill, polystyrene loose fill. Folks who use this material because of its (perceived) low cost and (real) speed, are, well ... ecoblivious. Polystyrene is recyclable, but not easily so. The material is extremely lightweight and therefore expensive to ship to recycling centers, which are often a long distance away. While associated transportation costs have always been high, the economics are now even worse due to the rapid run up in fuel costs.
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31 Jul 2008 Why Secondary Packaging Is Important

"Secondary packaging corrugated"
As consumers and people concerned with the environmental waste problem, secondary packaging should matter to all of us but I believe it is especially important for every traditional or e-commerce retailer of green products, to understand why it is important to them. During a recent presentation to some new e-commerce green store owners, I offered this list of reasons why:
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29 Jul 2008 Is Your Secondary Packaging Really Green?

"Corrugated Recycles Symbol" I recently met with a large, very eco minded client and I brought up our Globe Guard 100% recycled (PCW) corrugated boxes. She became very interested and indicated she had some doubts about the boxes her current supplier was delivering to her company. The boxes were being touted as "up to 50% recycled content". We agreed that phrase was carefully crafted for maximum flexibility and minimal responsibility. That specific claim really guaranteed nothing in terms of quantity of recycled content and also did not provide any indication of what type quality of waste is being used to make her boxes. Not All Sustainable Packaging Is Created Equal This is not an isolated case. Now that the world is going green, suppliers of packaging products are doing everything they can to put an acceptable if not deceptive green spin on their current products. Being in the business I tend to notice these things and have seen corrugated boxes with large logos printed on them that say something like: "100% recyclable" Don't most people know that all corrugated is 100% recyclable? Is this a statement that is provide to remind the customer of the box's recyclability? Or is it intentionally deceptive because many people assume that "recyclable" and "recycled" are interchangeable terms? I can tell you that numerous times, I have met customers who thought their boxes were made of recycled content and were not.
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24 Jul 2008 Gasoline – Another Reason to Stop Using Polystyrene Loose Fill

Foam peanuts.

Image via Wikipedia

A big carbon footprint is an excellent reason to find a new inner packaging material, but not one that arouses passion in most of us. But $5 per gallon gasoline gets everyone's juices flowing (no pun intended), and that's another reason - perhaps the most compelling reason - why polystyrene packing peanuts are the wrong void fill material for 2008 and beyond. Polystyrene packing peanuts are expensive to ship -- in fact, considerably more expensive to ship than just about any alternative product on the market. Peanuts are extremely bulky and lightweight, so freight carriers charge a premium to tote them around. I checked freights cost to ship 5 - 20 cubic foot bags, and the quotes ranged from $110 to $175. Whew! Freight surcharges are a healthy portion of the total, but those aren't going away any time soon. Want to get a freight estimate for yourself? Use this Roadway freight calculator. Class is 250. Figure 4-5 lbs. per 20 cubic foot bag. You'll be astounded.
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18 Jul 2008 Every Day Matters

Here are 25 words of wisdom, for a collection Liz Strauss is putting together. These ideas have been running through my mind a lot lately, perhaps because life has been so hectic in so many ways. Why does time seem to accelerate as we age? It could...

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15 Jul 2008 The Huge Benefit of $200 a Barrel Oil

high gasoline prices Did my title catch your eye? A few years ago it wouldn't have, because we weren't all that aware of the going price of crude oil. Didn't matter much. But today, it matters a lot, and we know it. And therein lies the huge benefit of astronomically high energy costs. Public awareness. Apathy is the enemy of democracy. For decades, we've allowed our political leaders to hold absurd, grandstanding positions on crucial environmental issues rather than roll up their sleeves and hammer out an actual energy strategy. We can blame our political leaders for shortsighted and misguided policies, but our own ignorance has made it possible.
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09 Jul 2008 What is Secondary Packaging?

I am often asked what secondary packaging is and why I spend so much time writing and talking about it. Before I try to define it, let me say that the reasons I choose to focus on it are because I believe secondary packaging is a major contributor to our waste problem, because it tends to fly below the eco conscious radar, and quite frankly, because no one else is talking about it. Primary packaging products are the ones designed for retail applications and usually make direct contact with the product being sold. It may be a paperboard carton, a glass jar or a plastic bottle. Even though we do some basic primary package design in select areas such as shrink over wrap or bagging, there are scores of excellent eco focused blogs, magazines and packaging designers that are almost 100% focused on the primary packaging you see on the retail shelf. Perhaps it is this high consumer visibility as well as volume, that makes it deserving of all the attention it receives.
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